During his second missionary journey, Paul stopped in Ephesus and preached in the synagogue. (See Acts 18:19.) Apollos, a Jewish believer, also taught in the synagogue there. Paul’s third missionary journey took him back to Ephesus, where he spent two to three years speaking with crowds about Jesus. (See Acts 19:8-10.) As people believed in Jesus, the church was established and grew under local leadership.
Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote his letter to the church at Ephesus. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians—like other letters he wrote to churches when he was unable to meet with them in person—brought words of instruction and encouragement that are still helpful to believers today. The letter to the Ephesians focuses on the big idea of unity.
Paul wrote to teach Jewish and Gentile believers that they are one in Christ and that they should treat one another with the love of Christ. Focus on these three ways believers are united: united in sin, united in Christ, and united in one Church.
First, we are united in sin. Paul’s description applies to first-century believers, to believers today, and to everyone. We are spiritually dead. Our union with Adam as the representative of the whole human race unites us in sin. Apart from Christ, we live as the world lives—doing whatever we want. This is bad news.
Next, we are united in Christ. Jesus is the second Adam. All who trust in Him are united to Him and to one another through Him. He makes us alive again. This is the good news of the Bible. Finally, we are united as the Church. Jesus breaks down barriers between Jew and Gentile, and He unites forgiven sinners as one church.
As you share with your kids, emphasize that God brings together different people as the church. People who might otherwise have nothing in common are part of the same family, adopted as brothers and sisters in Christ forever and ever.
The gospel brings together all people who have faith in Jesus. God’s salvation is a gift of grace, not something we can earn with good works. Forgiven sinners come together as the church to obey God and do His work in the world.
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
- Babies and Toddlers
- The good news of the gospel brings people together.
- Jesus brings people to God.
- We are saved by grace through faith.
- The gospel makes everyone part of the same family.
- God makes us more like Jesus.
- The gospel brings together everyone who has faith in Jesus.
- What is sanctification? Sanctification is how God makes us more like Jesus.
- The gospel brings together different people as the church.
- What is sanctification? Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
UNIT KEY PASSAGE
- 1 Timothy 6:12
- “Running the Race” (Philippians 3)